(Richmond, IN)--On Monday, Kicks 96 and the Point News looked back at 2014's biggest local news stories in a variety of categories. Here's a recap.
WEATHER: Only two days into 2014, heavy snow caused numerous accidents. The Whitewater Valley would be in for four more months of winter weather. Warming centers opened in late January as the temperature dropped to 15 below. Richmond finished the winter 337 degrees below normal. The city even saw an accumulating snow on April 15. Several roads closed with flooding rains on June 19. Winter weather returned on November 17, when the area received one of its earliest accumulating snows in recent years.
ECONOMY: A consolidation of Stride Rite was approved in January. In April, ground was broken for Wayzata at the old Visteon plant. In May, EDC CEO Valerie Shaffer explained why Richmond lost out on a 200-job manufacturer. "They said that our electric costs were much higher compared to other Indiana cities," Shaffer said. Throughout the summer, wind turbines sprung up around Lynn. September brought an announcement from Henny Penny that it would undertake an $8.3 million expansion. And, in November, Reid Hospital announced new usages for the old Ruby Tuesday’s and 600 Building uptown.
ISSUES: There was plenty of local controversy in 2014. In February, it appeared to Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa that sexual offenders would be housed at a Richmond trailer park. "We were not notified until what appeared to be the last moment," Cappa said. Cappa would eventually keep that from happening. Also that month, Union County was up in arms about its controversial band director. Richmond spent most of the year in a legal battle with John Cahill over two burned-out homes. Wayne County issued three same-sex marriage licenses in late June. RP&L General Manager Jim French resigned in July after massive amounts of inappropriate material was discovered on his work computer. Board president Don Winget refused to discuss every element of story, including why he informed employees without the board’s knowledge. "I can't comment on that, either," Wingett said repeatedly. And, in the fall, Richmond Common Council members dealt with financial records that were months behind. "The money's in the bank. We've just got to figure out exactly where it goes," said Mayor Sally Hutton.
CRIME: A Preble County killer was executed in January. Richmond foot doctor Brian Altman was found in Texas and ultimately admitted in Wayne County that he videotaped an employee using the restroom. There was a murder on Sheridan Street in April. Just a few days later, four men were shot at North 15th and H. A Richmond teenager was found beaten to death in an alley in May. A drug distribution ring at the Dorn Center in Richmond was busted in late July. There were also plenty of armed robberies. The man now known as the Bicycle Bandit struck more than once in the fall. He is still on the loose.
ODD: In January, dispatchers from across the Whitewater Valley said they had gotten numerous calls about late-night booms. Remember the Skittles scare? That came in March, when Richmond feared contaminated candy had been sold locally. In June, buffaloes ran loose on Wallace Road. There was a crazy chase in July in Richmond…one guy on one scooter with a gun was trying to catch another guy on a different scooter. Also that month, a man was caught taking pictures of kids at Cordell Pool. "There are people that don't have good intentions, and you should always be looking out for your kids' best interest," said the mother that noticed the man.
GOOD NEWS: In January, Richmond made a national list of the best Main Streets. One store there, Veach’s, was featured on NBC. In February, a Wayne County man struck it rich with a million-dollar lottery ticket. "Probably a once-in-a-lifetime deal," said the owner of the Fountain City mini-mart. In April, Richmond High School learned its graduation rate had jumped another six percent. In May came an incredible reunion. Ellen Suey finally met the person who rescued her when she was dumped 58 years earlier, as a baby, in a field in southern Wayne County. "By the grace of God, he sent Dave along. And, woohoo!, we're here today," Suey said. And, in October, Governor Mike Pence cut the ribbon on a big expansion of the Levi Coffin House. "Fountain City was a fountain of freedom," Pence said.